Losing It In 2020!

Daryl Gay's Back Page, March 2020

Daryl Gay | March 2, 2020

Look down. See that belly? Thought so.

It’s been two months now since you were wrangled into the 2020 diet. That’s the current year, and not the current diet; just so you ain’t more confused now than when you started reading.

Oh, there will probably BE a 2020 Diet afore December rolls around. After all, it would be a shame to let a catchy name like that go to waste.

But what you need to understand is that diets fascinate me. (Right; it doesn’t take much…)

My favorite store on the planet—Ollie’s—features an ever-changing variety of reduced-price books. I now possess about half the 2019 inventory list from the History/Military section.

Which is roughly 5% the size of the Diet section. If we took time and space to list all the different types of diets, I’d still be typing this column on opening day of deer season. 2022.

There are more diets than there are fat folks!


Which reminds me of seeing Marie Osmond. She was shilling for some TV diet plan that can be mailed directly to your door for only slightly less than the GNP of Thailand.

Don’t have a clue what the diet is, but I CAN tell you that if there’s a misplaced ounce on Marie, then somebody has done a masterful camo job. Other night at the fish fry—we’ll get back to it—some old coot remarked that she was a singer back in the day. Couldn’t say; I thought she simply sold processed food while looking like a million bucks.

None of us at the fish fry, however, aspire to mimic Marie when it comes to looks. And certainly not shape. If she sashayed into this fish fry, roughly 90% of attendees would need their tongues picked up off the floor.

However, if truth be told, most of the hooligans, in fact, are fairly content just to be walking around. Especially with a paper plate of mounded-over white perch death-gripped betwixt grubby paws.

The diet talk that initiated these proceedings broke out at the next table, and my boyhood training kicked immediately in. Here’s a life lesson—write it down—in case you’ve never been properly instructed: “You ain’t learning nothin’ when you’re talking!”

So I listened. Besides, combative conversations concerning calories—between grown men washing down fried fish, taters and hush puppies with sweet tea—fascinate me.

Just a sampling of all things weight-loss—or not—learned while in silent mode…

“I know it’s good for you, but I just can’t eat cabbage; hand me that coleslaw.”

“Naw, don’t need that; salt ain’t good for you. They MIGHT have salted these fish…”

“What state is Keto in, anyway?”

“I finally give in and started walking a mile every day. Half-mile to the Dairy Queen, sit down and eat a nanner split, half-mile back.”

“My doctor said…”

“My doctor said…”

“My doctor said…”

Now I know why every other TV commercial is trying to sell the world’s latest and greatest medication. But what I’m thinking is that since one has to obtain a prescription before one can even purchase that drug, why don’t said commercials air only on doctors’ TVs? And stay off mine?

Just a thought…

Another killer aspect of keeping one’s trap shut and ears open is that the crowd is never quite sure where you stand on the debate at hand. Once they got tired on bantering at one another, their focus turned to my plate: perch and coleslaw. Only.

“So you don’t eat french fries? Or hush puppies?”

“No. This is a cheat day for me, but I’m only allowed two items.”

“Whassa name er yer diet?”

Aspect No. 3: absence of flapping gums gives one a couple extra beats to think on the fly…

“Squirrel.” Forcefully.

The trick here is to keep an even tone, no smirk whatsoever, with a countenance that says you routinely digest encyclopedias for dessert.

Even those who already know I’m crazy can’t be sure. A couple newcomers look as if they swallowed half a plastic spoon. Their table is so silent I can hear false teeth clacking two over. And there’s a kind of uneasy shifting of chairs, nobody wanting to be first to ask…

“Baked, though; I can’t eat ’em fried. And no gravy. Only side I’m allowed is bone marrow. Ever sucked cracked squirrel bones?”

It was at this point that my son, mouth covered, broke and ran for the exit. With a passel of kinda weird howling as accompaniment.

“Guess he got a bad perch. He’s on the Squirrel Diet, too, and sometimes your body can’t adjust to sudden heavy stuff like taters.”

“Squirrels. Huh. You kill ’em?”

“Well, have you ever seen any at Piggly Wiggly? Course I do. Only problem is putting enough in the freezer to last during the off season. I’m thinking of having a bill introduced to legalize year-round sniping, with a daily limit of 900. That should balance the population in my neighborhood in about five years, after which we can conduct new population studies to see if we need more neighbors.”

They looked impressed. Perhaps stupefied. So I continued.

“I ain’t sure the Squirrel Diet is for you, though. Came up with another one years ago while having back trouble. Looked downward and realized that the trouble with my back was my front. So I created the Get Off Your Seat and On Your Feet Diet…”


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